Ruto to hold a three-day diaspora conference as elevating the diaspora as the 48th county.
With President William Ruto’s designation of the diaspora as the 48th county, the Kenya Kwanza administration is preparing for a significant three-day diaspora conference in Nairobi.
In order to discuss the best strategy for increasing diaspora remittances to boost the country’s economy, Kenyans living abroad have already organized a massive event that will be held between December 7 and 9 in Nairobi. The event will host top government officials, local and foreign investors, and county chiefs.
President Ruto and other government dignitaries, including Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Dr. Alfred Mutua, are anticipated to attend the event, which has the theme of Inclusive Growth Leveraging Diaspora Resources, according to KDA Chairperson Shem Ochuodho.
“It’s a very key event. We first had this convention in and at that time diasporas were remitting Sh 1 billion dollars every year. We set a target to double it within five years to Sh 2 billion dollars but to our pleasant surprise, by 2019 diasporas had surpassed that doubling, it was actually about Sh 2.8 billion dollars,” Dr. Ochuodho revealed.
According to Dr. Ochuodho, Kenyans abroad are eager to interact with the government about its recent vow to increase the benefits of investments and remittances.
He said the alliance was working to change people’s perceptions of Africa, promote respect for the continent, develop win-win economic relationships, and restore Africa to its proper position in geopolitics and global trade.
“We are focusing on a cordial working relationship between the new Government and Kenyans in the diaspora because there are numerous investment opportunities that are yet to be tapped,” Dr. Ochuodho added.
President Ruto has promised to strengthen diaspora services in all embassies and set up a mechanism for public participation by the Kenyans living abroad.
He also said the new government will work with Parliament to set up a committee that will exclusively deal with diaspora issues.
Already, Parliament has set up a standalone committee to address the plight of migrant workers, students, and holders of dual citizenship living abroad following an outcry from domestic workers in the Middle east.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in June this year reported that diaspora remittance inflows to Kenya as at May 2022 stood at US$ 339.7 million compared to US$ 315.8 million in May 2021, a 7.6 percent increase.
According to the CBK report, the cumulative inflows for the 12 months to May 2022 totaled US$ 3,992 million compared to US$ 3,365 million in the same period in 2021, an increase of 18.6 percent.
Dr. Ochuodho contends that investment opportunities are now essential rather than Kenyans residing abroad simply giving money to their relatives for consumption and subsistence.
He noted that many diasporas want to return home but without proper investments to sustain them in their sunset years, there is nothing to return to and so many of them remain stuck in their migrant nations until their demise.
“We believe that investing back home will not only elevate a sense of pride but also significantly increase remittances for posterity,” he added.